<An up-to-date listing of what’s on in North America’s 4th largest city, and where to find it>

– August 19,20 – Dance: Made in Canada, Betty Oliphant Theatre, 404 Jarvis Street, http://www.princessproductions.ca
– August 19 – September 3 – ‘Beautiful – the Carole King Musical’, Ed Mirvish Theatre, 244 Victoria Street, http://www.mirvish.com
– August 19,20 – Hogtown: The Immersive Experience, Prohibition-era Toronto in drama, music and dance, Campbell House Museum, 160 Queen St. West, http://www.hogtownexperience.com
– August 22 – The Secret Chord: A Leonard Cohen Experience, 7:30pm, Young Centre for the Performing Arts, Distillery District, http://www.soulpepper.ca or 416-866-8666
– August 25-27 – Toronto Talko Festival, international drummers, Edward Johnson Building, 80 Queen’s Park, http://www.torontotalkofestival.org
– Until August 27 – The Wizard of Oz, Lower Ossington Theatre, 100a Ossington Avenue, http://www.lowerossingtontheatre.com
– Until August 27 – Stratford Summer Music, 120 events over 6 weeks, Stratford, Ontario, http://www.stratfordsummer music.ca
– August 30 – k.d. lang, 25th anniversary tour, Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, 1 Front Street East, http://www.ticketmaster.ca
– Ongoing – Friday Night Jazz at the Aquarium, second Friday of every month, included with general admission, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, 288 Bremner Rd, http://www.ripleyaquariums.com/canada

– August 19- ongoing – King Lear & Twelfth Night, 35th year of Shakespeare in High Park, free, for details http://www.canadianstage.com
– August 19 – Confederation Part I: Confederation and Riel, Soulpepper/VideoCabaret, Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 50 Tank House, Distillery District, http://ww.soulpepper.ca
– August 19 – Confederation Part II: Scandal and Rebellion, Soulpepper/VideoCabaret, Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 50 Tank House, Distillery District, http://ww.soulpepper.ca
– August 19.20 – Broken Images, Indian woman gets flak about a book she wrote in English that succeeds, Red Sandcastle Theatre, 922 Queen St. E., http://www.brokenimages.eventbrite.com
– August 19.20 – Hogtown: The Immersive Experience, Campbell House Museum, 160 Queen St. West, http://www.hogtownexperience.com
– August 24 – September 3 – Lady GaGa: #Art Birth, pop icon decides to give berth as a performance art piece, Berkeley Street Theatre, 26 Berkeley St., http://www.canadianstage.com
– August 25 – An Evening With Kevin Smith, writer/comic/podcaster, 7pm, Queen Elizabeth Theatre, 190 Princes’ Blvd., http://www.ticketmaster.ca
– August 25 – Jay & Silent Bob Get Old, Kevin Smith & Jason Mewes, live version of their comedy podcast, 10pm, Queen Elizabeth Theatre, 190 Princes’ Blvd., http://www.ticketmaster.ca
– Ongoing – The Madness of George III, Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake, http://www.shawfest.com
– Ongoing – Everything Is Great Again, American politics, Second City, 51 Mercer Street, http://www.secondcity.com
– Ongoing – Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake, excellent theatre, beautiful town, 80 miles southeast of Toronto, for schedule http://www.shawfest.com
– Ongoing – Stratford Festival, 90 miles west of Toronto, excellent theatre, beautiful city, for schedule http://www.stratfordfestival.ca

– Until August 26 – Mark Jenkins and David Spriggs, Arsenal Gallery, 45 Ernest Avenue
– Until August 28 – Chromatic Geography: Natural Dyes (Textiles), Craft Ontario Gallery, 990 Queen Street West, http://www.craftontario.com
– Until September 9 – Ydessa Hendeles Retrospective, the exhibits Ms. Hendeles mounted at her much-loved Art Foundation, The Power Plant, Harbourfront Centre, 231 Queens Quay West, http://www.thepowerplant.org
Until October 2017 – Standing Tall: The Curious History of Men in Heels, Bata Shoe Museum, 327 Bloor Street West, http://www.batashoemuseum.ca
– Until January 1 – HERE: Locating Contemporary Canadian Artists, Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Drive, Don Mills, https://www.agakhanmuseum.org
– Ongoing – ‘Out of the Depths, The Blue Whale Story’, from the deep a giant emerges, Royal Ontario Museum, tickets at http://www.rom.ca
– Ongoing – The Varley Art Gallery of Markham, 216 Main Street in historic Unionville/Markham, http://www.varleygallery.ca
– Ongoing – Art Gallery of Mississauga, 300 City Centre Drive, Mississauga, http://www.artgalleryofmississauga.com
– Hockey Hall of Fame, 30 Yonge Street, http://www.hhof.com
– The Power Plant, Harbourfront Centre, 231 Queens Quay West, leading public gallery devoted to contemporary visual art, http://www.thepowerplant.org
– Spadina House Museum, historic house and gardens, 285 Spadina Road, (416) 392-6910
– MZTV Museum of Television, 64 Jefferson Avenue, Liberty Village, phone for free reservation at (416) 599-7339
– Ontario Science Centre, 770 Don Mills Road, http://www.ontariosciencecentre.ca
– CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) Museum, archival materials relating to the history of Canadian broadcasting, 250 Front St. West, http://www.cbc.ca/museum/index.html
– Fort York National Historic Site, 250 Fort York Boulevard, http://www.fortyork.ca
– Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada Regimental Museum & Archives, 1 Austin Terrace, https//qormuseum.org
– Black Creek Pioneer Village, the way life used to be, 1000 Murray Ross Parkway, 416-736-1733, http://www.blackcreek.ca

GLBTQ (gay, lesbian, bi, transgendered, queer, etc.)
– Ongoing – Rainbow Railroad, a charity which helps individuals in countries where being LGBTQ is an invite to violence, imprisonment or death, http://www.rainbowrailroad.ca
– Ongoing – ProudFM 103.9, Toronto’s LGBTQ radio station, http://www.proudfm.com
– Ongoing – Legit, second Thursday of every month, legal counsel for same-sex couples immigrating to Canada, 519 Community Centre, 519 Church Street, http://www.legit.ca
– Ongoing – Get Out! Running Group, every Sunday, people of all ages and experience levels, 10-11:30am, Fuel Plus 471 Church Street, free, http://www.getoutcanada.com
– Ongoing – Glad Day Bookshop & Cafe, since 1970, oldest LGBTQ bookshop in the Americas, 499 Church Street, licenced, coffee bar, warm welcome, http://www.gladdaybookshop.com
– Ongoing – Out and Out LGBTQ outdoors club, http://www.outandout.ca
– Ongoing – Righteously Outrageous Twirling Corps of Toronto (ROTC), colour guard, band, drum corps, baton, dance, http://www.rotctoronto.com
– Ongoing – Metropolitan Community Church (MCC), 115 Simpson Avenue at Howard Street, http://www.mcctoronto.com
– Ongoing – Xtra magazine, gay community news in Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver, http://www.xtra.ca/toronto.aspx
– Ongoing – The Pink Pages, gay, lesbian, trans, bi, leather, queer directory for Toronto, Ottawa, Kingston, Hamilton and Niagara/St. Catharines, http://thepinkpagesdirectory.com
Ongoing – (CLGA) Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives, second largest in the world, research centre, art gallery, 34 Isabella Street, http://www.clga.ca

– Ongoing – TAPto free walking tours by Toronto Greeters, book online at http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=e14d3a2f287c1410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD
– August 19 – September 4 – Canadian National Exhibition, Exhibition Place, https://theex.com/
– August 19 – Vegan Food & Drink Festival, Fort York Garrison Common, 11am-7pm, http://www.vegandrinkfest.com
– August 19,20 – Rastafest, Rastafarian culture, Black Creek Pioneer Village, North Property, 7060 Jane Street, from noon, http://www.rastafest.com
– August 19,20 – Toronto Chinatown Festival, dance, opera, food, dragon lion dance, storytelling, etc., west side of Spadina Avenue, http://www.chinatownbia.com
– August 20 – India Day Festival, parade, live music, art, 70th anniversary of India’s independence celebration, Nathan Phillips Square, noon-10pm, http://www.fb.com/PanoramaIndia.org
– Until August 20 – Christie Pits Film Festival, bring a blanket, movies under the stars, approx. 9pm, pwyc, Christie Pits, 750 Bloor Street West, http://www.christiepitsff.com
– August 22 – ‘Men With Brooms’, Yonge-Dundas Square at sunset, free, http://www.ydsquare.ca
– Until August 29 – Open Roof Festival, indie films and music, Tuesdays at 7pm, 99 Sudbury Street, http://www.openrooffestival.com
Until December 31 – To Canada With Love, Toronto’s cultural events celebrating the country’s 150th anniversary of Confederation, various venues, http://www.toronto.ca/canada150
Ongoing – Free Arts in the Parks, concerts, films and arts of all kinds, for full events listings and details go to http://www.artsintheparksto.org
– Mount Pleasant Cinema, 675 Mount Pleasant Road, big screen, 2nd run features, some European films, etc., https://www.cinemaclock.com/ont/toronto/theatres/mount-pleasant
– Carlton Cinemas, 9 screens, fully licensed, $5 Tuesdays, 20 Carlton Street, http://www.rainbowcinemas.ca
– Market Square Cinemas, 80 Front Street East, several screens, https://imaginecinemas.com/cinema/market-square/
– Regent Cinema, 551 Mount Pleasant Road, 2nd run features, big screen, https://www.cinemaclock.com/ont/toronto/theatres/regent
– TIFF Bell Lightbox, 5 cinemas, movies that don’t play in the multiplex, for times and schedule go to http://www.tiff.net/whats-on
– Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, specializing in documentaries and films seldom shown in the multiplex, 506 Bloor Street West, http://www.bloorcinema.com
– Revue Cinema, 400 Roncesvalles Avenue, neighbourhood cinema, second-run, docmentary & foreign features, http://www.revuecinema.ca
– Royal Cinema, documentaries, festivals, foreign, second-run features, 608 College Street, http://www.theroyal.to
– Ontario Science Center Omnimax,770 Don Mills Road, https://www.ontariosciencecentre.ca/imax
– Scotiabank Toronto Imax, 259 Richmond Street West, http://www.imax.com/theatres/scotiabank-toronto-imax
– Ongoing – ride the ferry to Ward’s Island & have lunch at the Rectory Cafe (only open restaurant on the Islands), 101 Lakeshore Avenue, 416-203-2152, http://www.therectorycafe.com
– Ongoing – Edgewalk, CN Tower, walk around the edge of our tallest free-standing structure, http://www.edgewalkcntower.ca
– Ongoing – Sunday Antique Market, free, Jarvis Street south of King
Ongoing – Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, 288 Bremner Boulevard, at the bottom of the CN Tower, http://www.ripleyaquariums.com/canada

TORONTO SAVVY is now on the UK-based website ‘Walked Thru’ – http://www.walkedthru.com

There’s a huge book sale Saturday at TORONTO Reference Library, 789 Yonge Street, Beeton Hall. All items 10 cents to $1.00. Money raised from the sales support library programs and services. Noon to 5pm.

TORONTO will be getting a new downtown park under the Gardiner Expressway. After 18 months of waiting, construction for The Bentway is underway and will occupy unused space under the expressway from Strachan Avenue to Bathurst Street.

With a $25-million donation from the Judy & Wilmot Matthews Foundation, the area will become a 1.75 kilometre multi-use park trail linking Exhibition Place, CityPlace, Liberty Village, Fort York, Bathurst Quay and Wellington Place. The park will include a skating rink, gardens, markets, galleries, festivals, outdoor theatres, etc.

August 19 – September 4 – Canadian National Exhibition, Exhibition Place, https://theex.com/

TORONTO’s Yonge Street small businesses are being driven out by ridiculously high property taxes. Our main thoroughfare is becoming condo alley, and the assessment prices are over the moon. For example, a bookshop owner will see his monthly rate go from $2,000 to $8,000 by the end of the tax cycle. Some businesses saw their property taxes increase by 485% according to the Downtown BIA.

City Councillor KRISTYN WONG-TAM argues “the assessment process . . . is blunt. As small businesses get priced out, the neighbourhood loses its vitality. It kills it. It destroys it.” She plans to meet with the powers-that-be.

After CHARLOTTESVILLE – Donald Trump has no grasp of what it means to be president. U-turns, self-regard and equivocation are not what it takes” – The Economist – https://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21726696-u-turns-self-regard-and-equivocation-are-not-what-it-takes-donald-trump-has-no-grasp-what-it

Remembering LOEW’S movie palace at 189 Yonge Street (I worked there as an usher while in university). The theatre – now called the ELGIN – has been thoroughly renovated and so has the upper-level WINTER GARDEN. Tours are available for a modest fee on Thursdays at 5pm and Saturdays at 11am by Heritage Toronto.


It’s been a long time coming, but soon subway trains will be on their way to one of Canada’s finest heritage villages. Surrounded by development, Black Creek Pioneer Village is a living tribute to the TORONTO Region’s roots, with architecture dating as far back as the 1790’s.

On-site there are 40 buildings considered to be amongst the oldest in TORONTO and its surroundings.  Inside several of them, interpreters and artisans in period costume describe life as it was lived in pioneer Canada.

BLACK CREEK PIONEER VILLAGE is open daily from May 1 to December 23.  It’s located in TORONTO’s north-west end, at 1000 Murray Ross Parkway near the intersection of Jane Street and Steeles Avenue.

GETTING THERE BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT – subway to FINCH STATION, then take the Steeles bus #60 westbound; or from JANE SUBWAY STATION use the Jane bus #35.

<PHOTOS ABOVE – the new Black Creek Pioneer Village subway station, designed by Will Alsop –  TTC and Jack Landau/UrbanToronto>

The Village website – https://blackcreek.ca


It’s taken decades of ‘goin’ down the road’ for the government of QUEBEC to welcome English speakers back home to La Belle Province.  Looking for a secure future, thousands of Quebecers (13,100 in 2014 alone) have moved to TORONTO and Western Canada, and the brain drain is ongoing.

Premier PHILIPPE COUILLARD has reached out to exiled “anglos” by saying “we need you” to help the province build a better future. “The English language is part of who we are, it’s part of our history,” said the premier at a news conference this past weekend.

Columnist BRENDAN KELLY in the English-language Montreal Gazette sums things up in a few words: “We’re different because we live in a French-language place. By definition, we’re submerged in a different culture. There’s the rub, though. We’re not really submerged in that culture.” On that point authors Jean-Marc Léger, Jacques Nantel and Pierre Duhamel agree that, “Anglo Quebecers form a distinct society unto themselves.”

For the complete story published in The Gazette go to


TIFF is re-opening the doors to CINESPHERE in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, for screenings of Canadian films from the 1980’s and 90’s.

The lineup, as part of the 2017 Cinematheque program, includes free showings and digitally-restored features like Clement Virgo’s Rude (95), the first Canadian dramatic feature to be written, directed and produced by an all-black team, along with Patricia Rozema’s winner of the Cannes Prix de la jeunesse ‘I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing’ (87). ‘North Of Superior‘, a classic IMAX documentary, is also on the program.

CINESPHERE opened in 1971 as one of the world’s most advanced theatres. Seating 752, it was the first permanent IMAX theatre anywhere.

The Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 7-17/2017


In August TORONTO’s mural painters descend on Rush Lane and colourful new works go up almost overnight. Artists share space with garbage cans, kitchen doors, parked cars, delivery trucks and vans – there’s nothing fancy about this particular venue. Below – new art that’s making the scene in 2017.

A giant mural about TORONTO, its wonders and eccentricities from the Ikea Monkey to the CN Tower, is getting a lot of attention.

ABOVE – The Alex Wilson (1953-93) Community Garden

Protected by the city as a heritage site, RUSH LANE runs parallel to Queen Street West, and can be entered from the west side of Spadina Avenue, a few steps south of Queen.


<Chinatown West – waiting for the bus on a sweltering Sunday afternoon>

The YSL, tallest one of them all, may be coming soon to Yonge Street at Gerrard. If approved this monster will be 98 storeys tall, and city councillor KRISTYN WONG-TAM says “it could cast a shadow that actually touches Allan Gardens (3 blocks east). That’s how far the impact would be.” <IMAGE – Cresford Development Company>)

Neighbours are outraged over a box-like house that has appeared in their Victorian nirvana. The Cabbagetown house, on St. James Court, has been the subject of a 10-year battle over proposals for a bigger house on the lot, and then over damage and the incovenience caused by construction. – Toronto Star, August 11/2017>

<Five cheetah cubs born at TORONTO ZOO in April/2017>

BARBARA COOK, whose rousing songs and romantic ballads touched America’s heart in an odyssey that began in the golden age of Broadway musicals, overcame alcoholism, depression and obesity, and forged a second life in cabarets and concert halls, died early Tuesday at her home in Manhattan. She was 89.

Not-so-long-ago Ms Cook sang to a sold-out audience at TORONTO’s Koerner Hall.  I also remember seeing her at the Fleck Dance Theatre in T.O. and the Hotel Carlyle in New York.  No one could interpret Broadway melodies like Barbara Cook.

<PHOTO – Barbara Cook at Carnegie Hall in 2006. Credit Richard Termine/The New York Times>

Not so fast! 

When it comes to bike lanes TORONTO is in the Stone Age. So writes columnist David Hains in Metro News, August 9/2017. Just look at these numbers of lane installations in 2016 – New York City (120km!!!); Austin (46km); San Francisco (22.5km); TORONTO (10.9km). Our city now has only 20km of protected lanes and 250km overall of on-street bike lanes – serving thousands of taxpaying bikers.

Add to this the fully operational biking networks in Portland, Vancouver and Montreal – and you must conclude we are indeed back in the Age of Stone. Too many clipboards, surveys and consultations – not enough action! We can & should do much better.

PENDA, which has offices in China & Austria has collaborated with Canada’s Timber for the TORONTO Tree Tower project. They’re proposing an 18-storey residential block that would stand 62 metres tall, with a modular structure made from cross-laminated timber.

The TORONTO tower would include 4,500 square metres of residential area, along with 550 square metres of public space including a cafe, a children’s daycare centre, and community workshops.

The Canada/150 train rolls into HAMILTON in recognition of Cansda’s 150th birthday. Canadian Pacific is sending the historic engine and 10 heritage cars across the country, starting out from Port Moody, British Columbia on July 28. It’s a beauty! – Hamilton Spectator, August 10/2017

Our man in OTTAWA, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, makes the cover yet again of a popular magazine. Says the Stone – “Justin Trudeau is trying to Make Canada Great Again. He is using, let us say, different methods.” – Stephen Rodrick/Rolling Stone

For a lengthy impression of Canada’s #1 ambassador and possibly “the free world’s best hope” read ‘Justin Trudeau: The North Star’. It’s in this month’s Rolling Stone.


Residents of CATHEDRALTOWN (a MARKHAM suburb) have something else to look at these days – besides the cathedral. It’s a chrome statue of a cow titled “Charity, Perpetuation of Perfection”, put there with the approval of city councillor Alan Ho – who is now facing the wrath of the populace. They want it gone ASAP.

“The last thing that would cross my mind would be to raise a life-sized cow with chrome-like finish two storeys in the air and consider that proper,” said local resident Danny Dasilva. “I hate it.”

Sephora Hosein is the new collection head at TORONTO’s Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Speculation. It is one of the largest collections of speculative literature in North America, and Hosein wants to let more people know about it. – <PHOTO – David Nickle/Metroland>

<Summer in the city – and TORONTO keeps the young folks busy>


<WORKPLACE1, Queen Street West>

<MaRS, College Street at University Avenue>

TORONTO is no slouch when it comes to the tech scene.  In fact this city is now #3 in North America, behind only Silicon Valley and New York City.  Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Kik, Shopify and HootSuite – all well-known – have offices in the GTA. Start-ups, Up-starts and Started-up firms have plenty of co-working spaces to choose from in TORONTO, including BrightLane, WorkPlaceOne, the MaRS Discovery District & Ryerson University’s DMZ.

A view of the Waterfront Innovation Centre looking southeast from Queens Quay Blvd. East <Menkes Developments Ltd.; CNW Group/Waterfront Toronto>

  A diverse population, multiple languages spoken, some of Canada’s top universities, a young educated workforce (57% under the age of 45), and schools such as BrainStation help prepare students for careers in development, design, digital marketing and other tech areas.

Ryerson University’s Centre for Urban Innovation (CUI), under construction on Gerrard St. E., will be a research, incubation & commercialization hub focused on solutions to urban infrastructure issues. CUI will feature 40,000 square feet of space for faculty and students researching alternative energy, water management, food production and data analytics. Architects – Moriyama & Teshima

TORONTO is very much in the tech business.